Christian Leadership Program

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Course Information

Our curriculum is intended to nurture lay leaders, and church teachers, as well as provide theological insight for interested laity. Our CLP is often used to complete education requirements for Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

With thousands of Christian Leadership Program alumni located across the country, the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary continues to pave the way for lay leaders in the church. Our courses are taught by experienced faculty with limited class size, to facilitate a beneficial learning environment.

Our current Christian Leadership Program consists of eight core courses offered in the fall and spring of each academic year. Summer offerings are based upon demand and instructor availability. Prior to taking any of our eight core courses, students complete our Online Learning Course, to unfold the nature of distance education. University of Dubuque Theological Seminary offers the following courses, which can be taken in any order:

Core Courses:

  • Introduction to the Old Testament
  • Introduction to the New Testament
  • Introduction to Preaching
  • Christian Education
  • Christian Caregiving: For Pastors and Leaders
  • Presbyterian Polity
  • Reformed Theology
  • Reformed Worship and Sacraments

Course Load:

The Christian Leadership Program follows the same semester dates as the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary's Academic Calendar. Fall and Spring semesters span 15 weeks (includes 12 weeks of classes, two research/reading weeks, and one exam week); the Summer term spans 12 weeks. The work required in a CLP course is equivalent to a one-credit college course. The standard for this would translate to:

  • 300 - 500 pages of reading
  • 7 - 10 pages of writing assignments
  • 3 - 4 hours per week of class participation and preparation time

We suggest participation in no more than two courses at any one time if you are working full time outside of the home. If you are planning to study full time, you may enroll in as many classes as you wish. Each core course is offered every Fall and Spring semester.  Summer offerings are based upon demand and instructor availability.

Certification for our Christian Leadership Program for Commissioned Ruling Elders:

We do not grant certification for lay ministry. As with ordination, lay ministry is certified through the individual's denomination. We provide the courses and evaluations, which may be used by your presbytery, association, or other judicatory in your process of becoming a lay pastor.


Tuition for our Christian Leadership Program for Commissioned Ruling Elder Training includes the following:

Core Courses $390.00 (Each Course)

** Tuition is subject to change.

Textbooks and supplies are in addition to course tuition. We provide a listing of course descriptions, required and suggested texts on our website. Textbooks may be purchased through our online bookstore, a Theological bookseller, or other online sellers, such as Amazon.

For more information contact the Christian Leadership Program Staff at or 563.589.3261.